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Thu, 03/14/2019 - 08:10

Only EU Market to Decide If Nord Stream 2 'Worth It' - EU Commission Official

HOUSTON (Sputnik) - It will be up to the European energy market to decide whether the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project, "is worth it or not", and Europe's needs will be the decisive factor, Paula Pinho, head of a unit at the Directorate-General Energy in the European Commission, told Sputnik on Wednesday. "It will go ahead if there are all operators to operate it and if it operates under necessary rules. It will be up to the market to decide whether it is worth it or not in terms of the overall needs in the EU", Pinho said, when asked whether the Nord Stream 2 would be good for the European energy market. Meanwhile, she specified that the European Commission had not included the project, under which 55 billion cubic meters (1.9 trillion cubic feet) of Russian natural gas are expected to be delivered annually to EU consumers, into its diversification strategy. "We've been saying that in our diversification strategy: it is important to diversify both suppliers and the roots, and that’s why we have not included the Nord Stream 2 as part of these diversification efforts", she explained. Pinho said that the commission did not look into the pipeline construction "as such," while it could check some issues. "What we are trying to make sure is that the operation of the pipeline takes place in very clear rules, and the EU legislation applies. So, we are not going into construction issues… We can look, of course, into in terms, for instance, [of] the procurement of the pipes, and whether that is done in conformity with the EU rules. But the construction as such — we are not looking into that", she added. After the pipeline construction is completed, the European Commission will look into tariff setting and party access, apart from other things. "Then, of course, we have a monitoring which goes notably through the possibility of member states to us, to delegations which can only be granted [right to monitor] if a number of conditions are met, and that’s where the commission comes in", Pihno said. She stressed that the commission would cooperate on the supervision with EU member states where Nord Stream 2 interconnection points are located. The EU member state in which the first interconnector is located will be responsible for applying the legislation, according to Pinho. "If it takes a decision in terms of a possible delegation, the commission will have a final say in terms of whether necessary conditions are met or not… We hope that all the conditions will be met. That’s precisely what we will be looking into", Pinho said. Her comment came just one day after the European Parliament passed a resolution calling for halting the Nord Stream 2 project, extending anti-Russia sanctions and abandoning Russia as a strategic partner. The resolution, which was introduced by Latvian parliamentarian Sandra Kalniete, states that the Nord Stream 2 will reinforce EU dependency on Russian gas supplies. Nord Stream 2 is a joint venture of Russian gas giant Gazprom and five European companies. The project envisages the construction of two gas pipelines that will run from Russia, through the Baltic Sea and to a hub in Germany. Read more: